Gush Katif continues a basketball tradition

11 years after the expulsion from Gush Katif, past residents continue to participate in a basketball tournament honoring Itai Yolis z"l.

Tags: Gush Katif
Ido Ben Porat ,

Teens from Gush Katif (file)
Teens from Gush Katif (file)
Nati Shohat/Flash 90

24 years after Itai Yolis z"l, formerly of Gush Katif, passed away from a difficult sickness, the basketball tournament held in his name continues to thrive.

Neve Dekalim against Netzarim and Atzmona against Netzer Hazani were just some of the games in the tournament that has taken place in the last couple days, seeing the participation of hundreds of former Gush Katif residents, all convening in the community of Yad Binyamin for the games.

One of the players said that the memory of Gush Katif and the earlier days of the tournament are still ingrained within him, and will remain so. "They uprooted us from Gush Katif physically, but in our minds we are there every day."

The teams are comprised largely of players that grew up in Gush Katif, with each team representing a former Gush Katif community. The semi-finals of the tournament, set to take place in another two weeks, will see Shvut Katif face off against Ganei Tal, and Atzmona face Bnei Dekalim.

Itai's father, Shlomo, who was present at the tournament, told of his excitement at such a large showing. "The tournament started 24 years ago with 35 people, and now there are hundreds. It's so exciting that they remember Itai."

The Yolis family moved into a permanent house only a little more than a year ago, in the community of Bnei Dekalim, after years of living in a dilapidated trailer. "My wife passed away exactly a year after we moved into the permanent house. This is the first tournament since she's not here. This year, we will award a star, in her name, to the Most Valuable Player and winning team," Shlomo said.